Parable of the Sewer

Once upon a time there were a group of people who lived in a sewer system. No one remembers how they came to live there or how long ago it was. The sewer dwellers would see openings above them with what looked like another world. There was much speculation about what these holes were and what kind of world was out there, but no one had ever been able to climb out and see. So, the speculation continued.

One day, a sewer dweller was walking underneath one of the holes in the sky and started wishing that he could get up there and see what was there. All of a sudden a hook dropped down, grabbed him and started pulling him up. As he went higher and higher he got bruised bumping against the sides of the pipe and started to yell and scream. Suddenly he was free of the pipe and lying on the grass in an open space. He stood up and then got hit with a stream of cold water that knocked him down again, but did manage to wash away all the grime from the sewer. He heard a man say, "Here, take these clean clothes and put them on." The man looked up and saw his rescuer holding out a white robe with gold trim. He took the clothes, stripped away his old rags and put the robe on.

As his eyes slowly became adjusted to the brighter light he could being to make out the man who had pulled him from the sewer. "Where am I?" the man asked the rescuer.

"You are in the real world above", the rescuer answered. "Your people have been living in a sewer for a long time, but I have come to pull you out."

"I guess I should say thanks, then" the man answered. "Our people have wondered what was here for a long time. Why did you rescue me?"

The rescuer answered, "I have known about your people all along. Over time I will tell you what happened and how you got stuck in the sewer. I will also have you help me get others out from the sewer at some point. You see, we are kinsmen of a sort. I've come to get you and take you back to the palace where you are supposed to live. It's a long journey, and there is much to do along the way, so we better get started."

"Well, now wait a minute!" the man said. "I just got out of the sewer and although I'm thankful, I really don't know how to live up here. I think maybe I would like to look around for a while."

"Oh, I wouldn't suggest you do that," the rescuer answered. "At least, not without me by your side. You see there are many, many holes that you can fall into and wind up back down in the sewer. I know where the holes are and can guide you around them. But, on your own you could be in real trouble. If I have to pull you out of the sewer again it won't be any easier the next time. Better to stay with me. We have a long journey ahead and you'll get to see plenty of interesting things along the way."

The man stood silent for a moment and then said, "Well, do you have a map I could look at? And what about food, shelter and provisions? I only know how to live in the sewer and I'm not sure how we are going to get along up here."

The rescuer answered, "Don't worry about all that. I have come from the palace and know the way back. So, you don't need a map if you stick with me. I also know where and how to obtain everything we need. All you have to do is just trust me. Let's go. It's time to get started."

The man looked down and said softly, "But how do I know I can trust you?"

The rescuer smiled and said, "I'm the one who rescued you in the first place, aren't I?" The rescuer then held out his hand and said, "So how about it?"

The man looked up into the gentle eyes of his rescuer, reached out and took his hand, and their journey together began.


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